Let’s do this. Much has been made, discussed, and argued regarding the University of Georgia Quarterback. The offense was productive all season but was bookended by games versus Clemson and Alabama where the QB play was easy to question. The defense was able to suppress the Tigers and get a win, but the Alabama offense led by Heisman winner Bryce Young scored at will for the first three quarters. Many, this blogger included, have called into question if Georgia has the QB who can win the College Football Playoff.
Georgia improved on just about every offensive metric from 2020-2021, including success rate, YPP, and EPA. But, the Georgia offense had a decline in offensive explosiveness. Third down efficiency is one scenario where an offense can flex explosiveness. Georgia, particularly, Stetson Bennett, have not been efficient on third down this season.
Looking at the stats from PFF and metrics from College Football Data, one can make the cast that Georgia has the edge in play callers. Bennett has more TDs, better success rate, higher YPA, and better PFF Grades. That is plenty of data for Georgia fans to rest easy at the QB positon.
Michigan has been compared to Georgia offenses of recent past depending on a strong running game, good defense, and good quarterback play. Michigan ranks 9th in Power 5 with 42 rush attempts a game, and 7th in yards per rush at 5.3. The Wolverines’ 2,900 rush yards is fist in Power 5.
Georgia’s rush defense is first in all of college, so McNamara might be asked to do more throwing the ball in the Semifinal matchup. Here is a game log of passing metrics for Michigan. Against Penn State and Wisconsin which are two of the better defenses in the B1G they were held to 38% and 33% pass success rates. And, in the one loss to Michigan State, which sported one of the worst pass defense in college, McNamara was held to pedestrian 50% success rate and 8.4 YPA.
Where McNamara and Michigan has a clear advantage is production facing defensive pressure. Looking at PFF’s stats, McNamara has a QB Rating of 94.6, 53% completion, 5 TDs, and no interceptions. In fact, PFF judged just 3 turnover worthy plays in 90 pressured pass attempts.
Conversely, Bennett’s production drops precipitously when facing pressure. Bennett sports PFF’s third highest QBR on non pressured plays behind OSU’s Stroud and Coastal’s McCall (ahead of Bryce Young). But, when facing pressure, Bennett’s QB Rating goes from 137.5 to 37.4.
Georgia seemed to play a different brand of defense against Alabama and didn’t get consistent pressure in the SEC Championship. One would expect that getting pressure on the QB will be part of any defensive game plan, but getting the win will depend on getting sacks and hits not just pressure. If not, McNamara can beat the pressure and be productive. Georgia’s gotten 225 total pressures on 414 pass attempts. Go Dawgs!!
This is Post is one of a series previewing the Georgia/Michigan Orange Bowl brought to you by the folks at DraftKings. Odds/lines are subject to change. Terms & conditions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.